Only One You

Only One You

Numerous people come to therapy or life coaching to work on their elusive “self-esteem.” I’ve been asked by clients, why is my self-esteem so low when I didn’t have a bad childhood? What does self-love really mean?

In a TED talk by Niko Everett, she explains the simplicity of self-esteem. According to her, our self-esteem is based on our thoughts — particularly our thoughts about ourselves.

We are hard-wired to analyze and focus on the negatives in our lives. While we might hate this at times, it is evolutionary, it kept our ancestors alive. But does it serve us now in this industrialized, capitalistic nation that requires us to stay on our toes to keep up with the hustle and bustle?

With the advent of technology and easy access to information, we are learning that love, gratitude, and joy deepen our quality of life and even our quantity of life by extending the lifespan.

However, there are a number of archaic ways we are socialized to come to conclusions about self-esteem:

  • Taking care of yourself first is selfish

  • Saying “no” means others won’t invite you to events or trust you to effectively collaborate

  • Setting boundaries cuts you off from others

These conclusions couldn’t be more wrong.

Self-esteem, self-love, and self-care all go hand-in-hand and work in tandem with one another. It’s virtually impossible for one to exist without the others and when one breaks down, the other two crumble as well.

The simplicity of self-esteem that Niko discusses is just that — simple…

But that doesn’t mean it is easy.

Now let’s go back to those archaic statements. If you pretend it is opposite day and read those statements again, that is how you begin to incorporate self-esteem into your life:

While this is a short and unilateral way to address self-esteem, I want to remind you that it can look different for every person. This is not remotely an exhaustive approach to building self-esteem, to be honest, this hardly scratches the surface. Ultimately, the more intentional you are about self-esteem, the more it will make sense and be applicable to your life.

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Anastasia Canfield, MM, MT-BC, RP, hails from Texas, but has found a new home in Colorado, where she has lived since 2013. She is a master’s level board-certified music therapist and registered psychotherapist having earned her first master’s degree in neurologic music therapy from Colorado State University in 2016. Her studies encompassed a broad overview of music therapy with all populations, but Anastasia pursued extra clinical hours working in schools and mental health clinics to emphasize her interest in psychiatric music therapy. Her master’s research focused on music therapy with a child with an emotional disability in a specialized classroom. Anastasia has worked as a music therapist for nearly three and a half years, offering individual and group services addressing a variety of individualized goals at facilities and private practices such as Highlands Behavioral Health System, Rocky Mountain Music Therapy, and the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan. She specializes in music therapy with mental health populations across the lifespan, as well as children and young adults with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders. Anastasia is joining Brightside Counseling as a practicum student while she pursues her second master’s degree, Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University, to earn dual-licensure as a board-certified music therapist and a licensed professional counselor.